The Gambling Reducing Slot Machine - Preliminary results Mette Buhl Callesen, Kristine Rømer Thomsen, Jakob Linnet and Arne Møller The PET Centre, Aarhus University Hospital and Centre of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, Aarhus, Denmark Slot machines are among the most addictive forms of gambling due to their specific structural characteristics. These include a high event frequency (number of games per minute), a high frequency of small wins and near misses, and auditory as well as visual feedback that reinforce extended gambling behavior . This study focused on gambling behavior in pathological gamblers and healthy controls, using one of the most popular slot machines in Denmark, ’Orient Expressen‘. The study included 20 pathological gamblers (10 females) and 20 healthy non-gambling controls (10 females). While being videotaped the subjects played two versions of the slot machine in random order: One with 83% pay back percentage and 2 second event frequency, and one with 50% pay back percentage and 3 second event frequency. Participants could keep 10% of their gains up to 200 DKK ($35) and were instructed that they could stop gambling whenever they wanted, but would be stopped at some point if they continued playing. Subjects were stopped after 60 minutes in each condition, and were subsequently asked to rate their gambling experience on a scale from one to ten on different aspects of gambling. We hypothesized that pathological gamblers would show increased gambling behavior (play longer, be more excited from gambling and more willing to continue gambling) compared with controls. No differences were found in the pay back percentage between the two conditions, so they were merged in a preliminary data analysis. The results showed that pathological gamblers played significantly longer than non-gambling controls (Mean = 52.95 minutes, SD = 10,20 vs. Mean = 32.07 minutes, SD = 16,49; p < 0,0001) Pathological gamblers were also significantly more excited about playing on the slot machines (Mean = 5,25. SD = 2,12 vs. Mean = 3,59, SD = 1,87; p< 0,002), and significantly more interested in playing again (Mean = 5,00, SD = 3,08 vs. Mean = 2,24, SD = 1,59; p < 0,0001), compared to non-gambling controls. These preliminary results support the hypothesis that structural characteristics reinforce gambling behavior in pathological gamblers and is associated with increased excitement and willingness to continue gambling. The results may have important implications for understanding how to reduce gambling behavior in pathological gamblers.  Griffiths, M. 1999. Gambling Technologies: Prospects for Problem Gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, vol. 15(3), pp. 265-283.
Sixth Annual Oak Meeting for Danish Brain Research Laboratories, 2007
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Sixth Annual OAK Meeting for Danish Brain Research Laboratories, 2007